I finished the design and started stitching quilt number three this weekend. As you might remember from my previous blog Quilt Number Three – Equality in Politics the theme is equality in politics and the fabric I’m using was originally a cushion with a black and white photo of the Palace of Westminster printed on it.
Taking the cushion apart was simple and left me with a perfectly sized fabric square for making the quilt sandwich.
I wanted to quilt the image of the Palace of Westminster but not obscure it with stitching so I used my trusty Bernina sewing machine and some invisible thread. I quilted along the lines of the windows and also quilted around the image. I’m pleased with the result and I think I achieved my design goal of quilting without obscuring or distorting the image.
This quilt is going to be a simple black and white colour theme. I’m going to embroider some of the statistics about equality in politics using black perle cotton.
Here’s a picture of progress so far
While doing my research for this quilt I discovered it has been 99 years since women were first allowed to become MPs and yet in December 2016, prior to the most recent by elections, there were more men in the house of parliament than there have ever been women. Another frustrating statistic is that prior to 1987 women had never made up more than 5% of MPs. On a more positive note 191 women MPs were elected at the 2015 General Election, 29% of all MPs and a record high. So we’re moving in the right direction just very slowly .
The first woman to be elected as a MP was Constance Markievicz in 1918 but as a member of Sinn Fein she did not take up her seat. The first woman to take her seat was Nancy Aston after a by election in December 1919.
If you’re interested in who all the women MPs there have ever been are they are all listed in this research briefing paper Women in Parliament and Government The fact that it is possible to produce a written list of all the women MPs in a 22 page document with an appendix and other information speaks volumes in itself.
I think this inequality in politics does have a profound impact on our society in many ways and cannot be allowed to continue. There are many reasons for it but fundamentally we need change in our political process to enable equality in representation to progress faster than the current glacial pace.
The cross party Ask Her to Stand campaign is working to get more women in parliament. Would I ever put myself forward as a candidate ? It’s a question I have been considering and the standard query you get from some people when you bring up this topic. Personally I don’t think I have the right personality to be a MP. I think my skills are better suited to supporting someone who does have the motivation and the qualities that would make a good MP. Who knows what the future will bring though. I have recently joined a political party for the first time the Women’s Equality Party and I even bought the T shirt.
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